Can Medical Cannabis Be used as a Anorexia Treatment Hero

A characteristic feature of cannabis is that it causes the “munchies,” which begs the question: could cannabis be used to treat anorexia nervosa? Cannabis has been widely studied as a treatment for anorexia (or cachexia) associated with cancer and HIV/AIDS. However, there’s little research on whether it would be an effective treatment to treat the type of anorexia that most people are familiar with: anorexia nervosa.

It’s unfortunate so little research has been done given how many people are affected and what the consequences are of leaving anorexia untreated. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 20 million women and 10 million men will develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives, with anorexia being one of the most common disorders. Among college students, the numbers are even more staggering: the National Institute of Mental Health estimates 25% of college students suffer from an eating disorder. Left untreated, the consequences can be dire. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate (12.8 percent) of any psychiatric disease. A shocking 6 percent commit suicide.

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

According to NEDA, anorexia nervosa is “a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.” Extremely low body weight, body dysmorphia (a distorted perception in body image), an obsession with counting calories, and an excessive need to control one’s environment are all common among sufferers. Individuals also often base their sense of self-worth on their body weight and shape, and have difficulty finding pleasure in activities that most people consider enjoyable.

What Are the Causes of Anorexia?

Historically, the causes of anorexia have been attributed to sociocultural factors such as childhood trauma or family members’ (and society’s) attitudes towards the desirability of thinness and slimness. However, evidence has emerged in recent years that also underscores the role of genetics and neurobiological factors.

Can Medical Marijuana Treat Anorexia?

The idea that cannabis could help treat anorexia seems like a no-brainer. After all, not only is cannabis notorious for inducing the “munchies,” but research on cannabis as an appetite stimulant for those suffering from cancer or HIV/AIDS has validated cannabis’s effectiveness. However, when it comes to anorexia nervosa, we only have a few studies. Only a handful of states consider anorexia a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, but many include related issues like uncontrolled weight loss, anxiety, and nausea.

Nonetheless, given the research we have accumulated, anecdotal evidence, and the fact the endocannabinoid system — the body’s own cannabinoid system — exerts such a powerful influence on appetite, cannabis as an anorexia treatment is highly plausible.

A 2011 Belgian study suggests that because dysfunctional regulation and underlying imbalances within the endocannabinoid system are prominent across eating disorders, developing cannabinoid-derived treatments (targeting the endocannabinoid system) could prove therapeutically valuable. The study offers promise that cannabinoids could help correct endocannabinoid deficiencies, while helping the individual return to a healthy state. However, this was a small study, and clearly more research is warranted.

In 2014, European neuroscientists conducted an important animal study offering another possible explanation on why cannabis (or specifically THC) may be useful in treating anorexia. Anorexia sufferers lose the ability to find pleasure in activities, particularly eating. And, authors of the study found that the way THC activates the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor (one of two identified receptors) elevates pleasure in eating by increasing our sensitivity to smells and taste.

A human study hailing from the Center for Eating Disorders at Odense University Hospital in Denmark provided encouraging data (although, with just 24 subjects, the study was fairly small). In this study, patients were given a placebo or dronabinol (a synthetic form of THC). On average, patients gained 1.6 lbs more on dronabinol than the placebo. The authors noted the treatment was “well tolerated” with “few adverse events.” Further, researchers followed up with patients a year after starting treatment and determined patients were still improving their symptoms and nutrition while showing no signs of addiction or withdrawal issues.

Mainstream is Still Not Convinced

The mainstream medical community, however, has thus far remained unconvinced. According to Tamara Pryor, director of clinical research at the Eating Disorder Center of Denver, individuals suffering from anorexia are empowered by not succumbing to the temptation of eating, so “stimulating their appetite can’t necessarily overcome the neurobiological issues that are also intimately involved with their disorder.” That being said, Pryor notes, “Marijuana may be a helpful tool for some people — in conjunction with therapy.” By therapy, she’s referring to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is accepted as one of the most effective forms of treatment.

Likewise, more often than not, anorexia accompanies other psychiatric disorders, particularly anxiety-related disorders. While cannabis may be helpful in treating comorbid conditions, could a patient’s perceived relief from other symptoms (e.g. insomnia or anxiety) increase the risk that they develop a dependency disorder? On the other hand, could strains high in non-intoxicating CBD (which has no reinforcing, habit-forming properties) provide relief, while reducing dependency risk?

While mainstream medicine may not yet be convinced, unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of people who credit cannabis with helping them overcome anorexia. A clinical cannabis patient from Los Angeles, Sarah (who for confidentiality reasons declined to use her real name), told Leafly that for years she struggled with anorexia. Doctors gave her antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, which she says helped her with some of her issues, but did nothing to help her kick anorexia to the curb.

“I tried for years to overcome anorexia and bulimia. For me, anorexia was a way to fulfill my need for control over my life. I was never much of a pot user, but recalling how [cannabis] gives you the munchies, I decided to give it a shot,” says Sarah. “It worked remarkably well. I became less self conscious, I lost my obsession over counting calories, and I started enjoying food again.”

Sarah claims cannabis provided a “short-term solution to a long-term problem.” She claims that within six months she beat anorexia. She now consumes only occasionally. “I haven’t totally gotten over my body issues, and that most often becomes an issue during intimacy with my fiancé. So now I’ll occasionally medicate and I’ve found that I’m far less self-conscious and it brings us closer.”

While cannabis may provide a valuable alternative treatment for anorexia, cannabis should not be seen as a panacea. It may serve a role, but given the seriousness of the condition (including the high mortality rates), consulting a specialist and enlisting support through peer groups is vital. Two organizations, NEDA and National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), provide valuable online resources to individuals or loved ones impacted by anorexia.

While it may be some time before mainstream medicine embraces cannabis as part of an overall treatment program for anorexia, clearly it hasn’t stopped patients in states where it is (and isn’t) a qualifying condition. However, while research continues to shed light on how cannabis may or may not play a role in recovery, prospective patients should consult a professional and carefully consider the pros and cons of cannabis as a treatment before embarking on a cannabis-based treatment regimen. Also, keep in mind that dosing, strains, intake methods (e.g. vaping, tinctures, edibles), can all influence outcomes. So it may take a little trial and error to find what works best.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/27/college-kids-eating-disorders/1794057/

 

Verty, A. N., Evetts, M. J., Crouch, G. J., McGregor, I. S., Stefanidis, A., & Oldfield, B. J. (2011). The cannabinoid receptor agonist THC attenuates weight loss in a rodent model of activity-based anorexia. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(7), 1349–1358. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2011.19

 

Chadda, R., Malhotra, S., Asad, A. G., & Bambery, P. (1987). Socio-cultural factors in anorexia nervosa. Indian journal of psychiatry, 29(2), 107–111.

 

https://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(11)00507-5/fulltext

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3647

 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eat.22173

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This article written by Jeremy Kossen was originally posted on Leafly.com.

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There's No Place Like Home: Understanding How Teen's Mental Health Can Be Affected By Their Environment & Cannabis

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

I am sure many of us growing up did not listen to our parents, maybe break a rule or two and thought our parents’ rules were unfair. Maybe some of us even thought there is no way our parents could understand what it means being an adolescent. And most of us turned out fine. Is there a specific behavior as an adolescent that is a predictor of how we will grow up to be? 

What is Different in Adolescence Brain

I know as an adult now, when I am walking down the street past the park near my house I witness adolescents engaging in the riskiest behaviors. Then I think to myself- what on earth is going on in their brain?  Let’s think about it this way- the human brain is like a computer; it processes information and different parts are responsible for different functions. As an adolescent the prefrontal cortex which is located in the forehead area is not quite done developing (Sarah Spinks 2000). Yes, that section alone is responsible for decision making, behavior, personality expression, etc…  That is why adolescents lack responsibilities and do not always make the right decision a majority of the time. 

How the Environment Contributes to Adolescent Behavior

 What is a determining factor that leads some of us into the straight narrow path and others to divant and risky behaviors? Studies have shown that children exposed to multiple forms of early life adversity are more likely to engage in high levels of delinquent behavior during adolescence (Connolly, & Kavish, 2019). Criminologists believe the environmental factor is important because behavior depends on adolescents’ responses to stress, which they learn at at home through family, social and school bonds (Hinnant, Erath, Shimizu, et al.,2019). According to control theory, individuals will commit criminal or delinquent acts when their bonds to society are weak or broken ( Fuller, 2019). 

According to this theory there are four types of bonds: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. For example an adolescent’s attachment to a teacher, commitment to their future, involvement in school activities, and belief in succeeding are all positive attributes that can deter an adolescent from engaging in risky behaviors. When the bonds are strong, an individual will refrain from deviant or risky behavior. School is a systematic factor beneficial for individuals’ social and educational purposes and can play a role in weakening or strengthening involvement bonds. How so? When adolescents succeed in school and are engaged in extracurricular activities, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviors that lead to delinquency since they have little free-time. The student to teacher relationship is a crucial part of keeping that bond intact ( Fuller, 2019). Although the environment plays a significant role in the types of people adolescents are surrounded by it is not necessarily a determining factor. So what other factors contribute to behavior in adolescents? 

 Early Exposure to Cannabis 

Based on the environment some adolescents are exposed to cannabis early on either through household exposure or from friends. There are pros and cons for exposure to cannabis at a young age. The cons include developmental issues because the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. But for adolescents who suffer from epilepsy or autism there is a counteractive effect. It instead diminishes the frequency and amount of seizures. In a study conducted in Israel in 2016 they found that there was a positive effect on the reduction of seizure by  25-50 percent. They also observed an improvement in behavior, alertness, language, communication, motor skills and sleep (Tzadok, Uliel-Siboni,  Linder,  Kramer, et al. 2016). 

What does this mean

As mentioned, cannabis can be a new option for adolescents living with mental health conditions. As always, continued research will be necessary to fully understand the potential medicinal qualities of cannabis and the best protocols for it. We need to continue educating ourselves on how we can help future generations cope with mental health diagnoses. We can learn how to use earth’s natural resources to form possible treatments. If you want to learn more about the mechanisms of cannabis, here are some suggested posts to read next:

Connolly, E. J., & Kavish, N. (2019). The causal relationship between childhood adversity and developmental trajectories of delinquency: A consideration of genetic and environmental confounds. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 48(2), 199-211. doi:10.1007/s10964-018-0960-0

Epilepsy Foundation.Medical marijuana and epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy

Tzadok, M., Uliel-Siboni, S., Linder, I., Kramer, U., Epstein, O., Menascu, S., . . . Ben-Zeev, B. (2016). CBD-enriched medical cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy: The current israeli experience. Seizure (London, England), 35, 41-44. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2016.01.004

Hinnant, J. B., Erath, S. A., Shimizu, M., & El‐Sheikh, M. (2019). Parenting, deviant peer affiliation, and externalizing behavior during adolescence: Processes conditional on sympathetic nervous system reactivity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 60(7), 793-802. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13046

Randolph Fuller, J. (2019). Introduction to criminology (A Brief Edition ed.)

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Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

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Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

When touching a fresh nug of cannabis flower, you might notice tiny, glistening bits of coating flaking off making your fingers sticky. This coating surrounding the nug of flower is referred to as Kief and if collected and stored properly, can be a great enhancer to your cannabis high.  

What is kief?

Kief, simply put, is the very fine bits of cannabis remaining after it is ground. Kief is a powdery-like substance, created when the trichomes, or resin glands, are removed from the cannabis flower and consolidated. The trichomes are what you see as the crystallized or hairy bits of cannabis that tend to fall off easily when you handle or roll with it. The word “trichome” comes from the Greek word “τρίχωμα”, meaning “hair”- trichomes protect the plant and house THC. Kief contains the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant, therefore it has many uses.

How do I collect kief?

Most herb grinders on the market include a kief catcher, or a chamber located at the bottom of it that accumulates kief over time. The easiest way to collect kief is to use a grinder with a kief catcher. As you use your grinder, over time, the kief will sift through the mesh screen inside and slowly accumulate in its own compartment. Your grinder will likely come with a convenient scraper to scoop the kief for when the time comes! Some people design makeshift sifters to collect larger amounts of kief, however, this is less common for beginners.

How does adding kief benefit use?

Although it takes some time to accumulate, many people find that it is worth using kief to elevate a smoking experience. Kief is an Arabic word that means “pleasure” or “intoxication”, afterall. Kief can provide amazing medicinal benefits due to its extremely powerful concentration of cannabinoids as well. Kief is fast-acting and smokers only need a little bit to get a lot of THC and other cannabinoids in one sitting. This can be beneficial to patients who utilize strains with high concentrations of THC for various conditions. Kief can also provide relief for those with a higher tolerance to cannabis. Additionally, if an individual wants the option to use cannabis without combusting it, they can choose to turn their kief into hash, rosin or moonrocks- this can help cannabis consumers avoid adverse side effects of smoking to their lungs.

What can kief be used for?

Kief is wonderfully versatile and can be used in several ways! You can:

💨 Smoke it! Smoking kief is the easiest way to reap its benefits. Simply scoop some kief and put on top of a bowl of fresh flower or, roll some into a joint mixed with fresh flower for a more potent smoke.

🍪 Eat it! Take a pinch and put it in your hot cup of morning coffee or tea- the heat will activate the cannabinoids and work almost like an edible! Or, you can even add kief to cannabutter to increase potency. With large amounts of kief, you can make butter on its own as well. 

🌿 Make hash, rosin, or moonrocks at home! Kief can be turned into hash, rosin or moonrocks using heat and pressure at home. There are a few ways to do this, but do not necessarily expect high-quality. 

Bottom line

Once you begin to handle your cannabis flower and notice all of the tiny, green crystals stuck to your fingers afterwards, you will better understand what kief is. Smoking kief is like cashing out on your personal rewards system of grinding and smoking cannabis- every time you break up your dry flower, you get a little extra perk that you can use later on.

Nunley, K. What is Kief: How to Collect and Use Kief Powder, Medical Marijuana, Inc., retrieved from 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.medicalmarijuanainc.com/what-is-kief-and-why-is-it-so-popular/amp/

Skrobin, N. (2019). Marijuana 101: How Can Kief Be Used Medically?, The Fresh Toast, retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/kief-what-is-it-and-how-is-it-medically-beneficial/%3famp

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Caroline Platzman

written by

Caroline Platzman

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

For centuries, stoners have rolled their cannabis into joints, blunts and spliffs in the ritual of puff, puff, pass to connect and get high with others. Joints, blunts and spliffs are some of the most common methods of smoking cannabis and for good reason; they are easy to share, convenient and fun. Since these consumption methods are not all the same, I am here to answer the question, what are the key differences among the three!?

What is a joint?

A joint is ground cannabis flower rolled into smokable papers, typically known as a pre-roll and typically made from papers used for other smokable leaves. Joints can come in all shapes and sizes, due to the variety of rolling papers sold along with different methods of rolling and shaping styles. Different rolling techniques and designs used for joints can provide an optimal high when sharing with groups due to the quantity of cannabis and allotted air flow for each pull. Smokers who do not know how to roll can purchase pre-rolled cone shaped packaged wraps or a hand roller with papers, so virtually anyone who has access to a smoke shop can enjoy a joint. Joints are also referred to as doobies, or cannabis/jazz cigarettes. 

Surprisingly, joints are not a new endeavor. Instead, in the 1600s, as the tobacco trade developed, wealthy Spanish aristocrats would smoke massive cigars as a luxury and status symbol. It was during this time peasants would find the rich’s leftover butts on the ground, take them apart and reroll whatever was left using tiny scraps of newspaper. Papermakers recognized a need for a paper designed specifically for smoking tobacco, and thus the first rolling paper was born. 

As rolling papers made their mark throughout history, the twentieth century brought a new association of joint smoking as various groups of people in the U.S were targeted. Starting with  jazz musicians serenading to streets of New Orleans in the ‘20s coining the term, “jazz cigarettes to the hippies revolting in the ‘70s, smoking a joint as a political statement of solidarity. Though, the common purpose of joints have been a means of connecting with others in the name of love, peace, and art. 

Joints are among the most popular methods of smoking cannabis. In fact, according to a study conducted in 2015, roughly 49% of regular cannabis smokers chose joints as their preferred method of using cannabis (Schauer et al, 2015). Joints are common among cannabis consumers because they are convenient, shareable and portable. The word “joint” is derived from the French verb joindre, meaning “to join” which is exactly what we do when a joint is present! 

What are the risks of smoking joints?

Some cannabis smokers avoid joints due to reported health risks that come along with smoking paper. According to the American Lung Association, Inhaling smoke of any kind is detrimental to longevity of lung health. Some papers such as bleached white papers contain chemicals like chlorine which can be harmful when burnt and inhaled. Further, cannabis researchers are critical to address, consumers may be surprised to learn that marijuana rolling papers are not regulated or safety-checked by state authorities (Reese, 2020). Sadly, this creates unknown risks and potential for negative health effects we may not be aware of when using joints. 

One study conducted in Santa Cruz, California in 2020 actually found that across 118 different rolling paper brands, pre-rolled cones, wraps, and cellulose-based papers tested, 90% of the brands contained at least one heavy metal (SC Laboratories, 2020). Health risks associated with the exposure to and inhalation of heavy metals can increase the risk of neurotoxicity, cancer, and kidney problems (Forbes, 2020). To decrease risks associated with smoking paper, it is best to do your research as companies are working to increase the safety of inhalation. There are also developing products available online that are introducing the idea of personal, portable, and recyclable mouthpiece filters. Keep an eye out to the developing products!  

What are the pros and cons of smoking joints?

Pros: 

🌿 Easy to share

🌿 Convenient

🌿 Portable

🌿 Customizable

🌿 Potent

🌿 Cones are sold for easy packing

 

Cons: 

❌ Health risks associated with smoking paper

❌ Can be difficult to roll

❌ Can burn quickly or unevenly

What is a spliff?

A spliff holds a similar style as a joint, though added to the cannabis is tobacco. Essentially, a spliff is rolled cannabis and tobacco, or any other smokable leaf. Smokers enjoy spliffs because of the added buzz they get from the tobacco. Tobacco does not get you higher, though it adds a light-headed feeling to the experience that some smokers enjoy. Some smokers claim adding tobacco slows the smoking and burning process allowing for a longer toking session. Additionally, spliffs allow an easy customization as users can add as much or as little product desired. For example, spliffs can be used to decrease the amount of cannabis needed in a joint, which can affect tolerance. Be mindful, adding tobacco by creating a spliff can affect potency, taste, burn and even cloudiness of the smoke.

Similar to joints, spliffs are not a new fab, instead, around the 1850s, the first modern-day spliff was reportedly smoked. According to a pharmacist at the University of Guadalajara, field workers from Mexico were known for mixing their cannabis with tobacco for personal use. Though, in the 1930s, Jamaica and the West Indies were the first recorded to term “spliff.” However, sources report the term was originally used to refer to a cannabis cigarette with no tobacco (aka the modern joint)! Today, the term largely refers to a cannabis cigarette mixed with tobacco. 

Spliffs are less mainstream in the U.S. and are more common in the U.K. and many European countries. In the U.S., spliffs cannot be found in dispensaries and if desired require individual prep. On the contrary, the U.K. and European nations primarily sell their cannabis products with tobacco. In fact, unless otherwise labeled “pure flower,” coffee shops in Amsterdam contain pre-rolls with tobacco. Joints containing only cannabis are smoked far less often in the U.K. and European nations, as rolling and smoking personal tobacco cigarettes are more popular hence the addition in cannabis joints. For U.S. cannabis smokers who enjoy spliffs, purchasing rolling papers and the tobacco is necessary for the production and consumption on their own. 

What are the risks of smoking spliffs?

Similar to joints, some cannabis users do not prefer spliffs due to the potential health risks associated with burning rolling papers. The rolling papers pose a potential risk, and the addition of tobacco adds an increased threat. As we all know, there are numerous health risks linked to long-term tobacco use, specifically when using products manufactured cigarettes. America’s increased capitalion and production of cigarettes have allowed for ingestion of harmful chemicals posing risk for cancers, lung diseases, heart disease, stroke, COPD and other serious medical conditions. To decrease the risks associated with smoking spliffs, it is best to assess your own risk of harm. As mentioned before, companies are attempting to address the severity of smoking products and can provide a temporary safe alternative for enjoying a spliff. 

What are the pros and cons of smoking spliffs?

Pros: 

🌿 Easy to share

🌿 Convenient

🌿 Portable

🌿 Customizable 

🌿 Burns slower/more evenly due to added tobacco

🌿 “Buzz” feeling 

Cons: 

❌ Health risks associated with smoking paper

❌ Health risks associated with smoking tobacco

❌ Not accessible in U.S. dispensaries

What is a blunt? 

A blunt is cannabis rolled using tobacco leaf, and it tends to be more rounded in shape than joints or spliffs. Blunts minick those of a cigar and sometimes incorporate their leaves by emptying their tobacco content and replacing it with cannabis. Blunts received their name due to their rounded, dull tip. Some smokers prefer blunts because the leaf tends to burn slower than paper, produces thicker smoke, and can usually fit more ground flower than a joint or spliff. The tobacco leaf can also give smokers a buzz, similar to spliffs. Blunt wraps also come in a variety of flavors, which some find enjoyable. Blunts are sometimes referred to as “L”s. 

Around the mid-1800s, cannabis rolled in tobacco leaf became widely popularized for personal use in the Caribbean. Simultaneously, U.S. companies began to sell cigars containing one outer leaf with a rounded, blunt tip, coining their term. Soon after, Phillies and Dutchmasters produced their own versions and the blunt became more and more popular on the east coast.

The first modern-day blunt was rolled and smoked sometime in the mid-80s in New York City. It is unclear the inventor responsible for the blunt, though believed to be attributed to the immigrants from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Domincan Republic and other Caribbean territories.

The blunt soon became popularized and associated with hip hop culture, as artists like Big Daddy Kane, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Redman began to release mainstream music discussing blunt-smoking. As Snoop Dogg is even known for hiring a full-time, salaried blunt roller and reporting smoking over 75 blunts a day on television. As the culture surrounding blunts became more popular in the 90s, New York City smoke shops and bodegas started to sell wraps welcoming stoners. Blunt-smoking eventually branched out to suburban areas and towns all over the country causing the blunt to be the most popular among stoners today. 

Blunts are commonly smoked today as 20% of regular cannabis smokers chose blunts as preferred method of consumption (Schauer et al, 2015). Though blunts also contain tobacco causing many to forgo smoking them on a regular basis to decrease related health risks.

What are the risks of smoking blunts?

Blunts are associated with health risks due to the tobacco used, which usually contains more leaves increasing the amount of tobacco inhaled and of course increasing the risk. According to the Santa Cruz study conducted in 2020, blunt wraps, particularly the flavored ones, were determined to be the worst contaminated out of the 118 products tested (SC Laboratories, 2020). In general, it is best to steer clear of flavored wraps, and to use as little leaf as possible when rolling a blunt. Some cannabis users even tear the excess leaf and pieces with glue off to avoid inhaling more carcinogens. Remember, the less paper or leaf you use, the better it is for your health. 

What are the pros and cons of smoking blunts?

Pros: 

🌿 Easy to share

🌿 Convenient

🌿 Portable

🌿 Customizable

🌿 Potent

🌿 Burns slower/more evenly than paper

🌿 Produces thick, cloudy smoke 

🌿 “Buzz” feeling

Cons: 

❌ Health risks associated with smoking tobacco

❌ Conspicuous odor

Bottom line

Remember that when it comes down to smoking cannabis, everyone has their own preferences. Joints, spliffs and blunts are all slightly different though ultimately serve the same purpose of getting you high. Each method has its benefits and its risks, so be mindful of that as well. It is best to give them a try and see which works best for your preferences! 

Barrett, E. (2015). From Blunt To Bart: A History Of Cigarette And Joint Rolling Papers In Photos. Flashbak, retrieved from https://flashbak.com/from-blunt-to-bart-a-history-of-cigarette-and-joint-rolling-papers-in-photos-36956/

 

Cannaconnection (2020). The history of cannabis joints, retrieved from https://www.cannaconnection.com/blog/19229-the-history-of-cannabis-joints

 

Cannaconnection (2020). Does the use of rolling paper affect your health?, retrieved from https://www.cannaconnection.com/blog/18282-does-rolling-paper-affect-health

 

Reese, Lori Ann (2020). “Rolling Papers May Not Be as Safe as We Think”, Marijuana Doctors, retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.marijuanadoctors.com/blog/rolling-papers-may-not-be-as-safe-as-we-think/amp/

 

Roberts, C. (2020). What’s In Your Marijuana? Check The Papers: Study Finds Pesticides, Heavy Metals in Rolling Paper Products, Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/chrisroberts/2020/08/31/whats-in-your-marijuana-check-the-papers-study-finds-pesticides-heavy-metals-in-rolling-products/amp/

 

Schauer, G.L., King, B.A., Bunnell, R.E., Promoff, G., McAfee, T.A. Toking, Vaping, and Eating for Health or Fun: Marijuana Use Patterns in Adults, U.S., 2014. Am J Prev Med. 2016 Jan;50(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.05.027. Epub 2015 Aug 12. PMID: 26277652. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0749379715003207

 

SC Labs (2020). Rolling Papers Tested for Heavy Metals and Pesticides, Analysis Report, retrieved from https://www.sclabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/SC-Labs-Report_Rolling_Papers_MKT00308.pdf

 

https://www.sclabs.com/rolling-papers-tested-heavy-metals-pesticides-report/

 

https://www.sclabs.com/sc-labs-report-rolling-papers-tested-heavy-metals-pesticides/



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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

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How to Mix the Perfect CBD Cocktail

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

CBD in nail polish. CBD toilet paper. CBD infused workout apparel. It seems there is every combination of products being partnered with CBD as if no production idea can be left unturned. Whether or not CBD is safe being mixed into a multitude of products, it is currently selling and marketing as a “miracle supplement,” improving your overall lifestyle in any and every way, shape, or form you could possibly imagine and/or want.

Some of the thoughts and assumptions about the miracle of CBD are true. Maybe not the nail polish but some of them. Though what is often missed in our conversations about CBD is what should not be combined with the “miracle supplement.” Cutting through all the hype, it is time to talk about the chemical compound, which has the potential to affect the medication you are prescribed to take daily. If you are using CBD to soothe and feel better in combination with medications, let us make sure the product will do the job without triggering any medication interactions. There are many considerable factors that need to be evaluated and explored before “shaken up” the perfect medication cocktail.

Just like alcoholic and nonalcoholic libations, mixing drug cocktails takes the proper ingredients, proportions, and preference to being shaken, not stirred. The sum is greater than its parts usually applies to situations like these. Whether we are talking about drinks, CBD or prescription medication- mixing a cocktail altogether can leave you with unintended side effects that could be scary, dangerous, or life threatening.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, can be found in virtually every product in your market, pharmacy, and ecommerce store. It is one of over 100 different cannabinoids that are naturally occurring chemical compounds unique to the cannabis sativa plants. It is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis though partakes in the opposite effect. CBD does not produce any intoxicating highs rather it decreases the active psychoactive effect from THC in the body. Though, even with non psychoactive effects, CBD can still be utilized to offer health benefits. Research suggesting CBD’s benefits and risks is ongoing with some early results indicating CBD’s potential to reduce seizures in candidates with an epilepsy diagnosis. It is thought to be a multi-purpose chemical modulating the endocannabinoid system. CBD does not bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors, instead it is believed to work by preventing endocannabinoids from breaking down, allowing more of an effect on your body.

CBD Side Effects

CBD is generally thought to be very safe and not harmful. It is well tolerated by many and denied to have any addictive qualities. There are, however, still some side effects when using CBD. The most common side effects include:

🚩 drowsiness
🚩 lightheadedness
🚩 reduced appetite 
🚩 change in alertness
🚩 nausea
🚩 diarrhea
🚩 dry mouth
🚩 damage to the liver (in rare cases)

It is also important to note that even though CBD is permitted for purchase, it is just as unregulated. Therefore some CBD products may not have undergone quality control assessments causing false advertising on the CBD levels claimed to be contained in the product by the manufacturers. Others may contain unsafe contaminants affecting all users differently. Be sure to thoroughly review and solely use products that have a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and have included testing by a third party for potency and contaminants, such as pesticides. 

CBD Interactions with Other Drugs

A cause for concern arises if you are using over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications in combination with CBD. Taking CBD with other medications may increase unwanted side effects, toxicity, or altered status and concentration.

Most drugs are metabolised by enzymes in the liver. When CBD is used in combination with  other medications, the two compounds compete for the available enzymes in the liver. In turn, the medication’s breakdown and absorption is altered, decreasing effectiveness, and increasing unwanted side effects. In essence, CBD basically prevents your body’s liver enzyme from binding to the medication molecules allowing the medication to work effectively. Depending on the medication administered in combination with CBD, you can either decrease or enhance targeted effects creating almost an unstable state. 

The effects of mixing drugs with CBD can be difficult to predict and can generally cause a range of symptoms from  discomfort to serious problems leading to medical assistance. Meaning, these drug toxicity must be taken seriously. The following are some examples of CBD’s effect on different medications:

✦ opioids, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, or alcohol may cause:
sleepiness
fatigue
dizziness
accidental falls 
accidents when driving
✦ herbal supplements and vitamins may cause:
increased sedation
tiredness 
✦ stimulants may cause:
decreased appetite
heartburn 
diarrhea
✦ warfarin, amiodarone, levothyroxine, clobazam, lamotrigine, valproate and a total of 57 other medications may cause: 
serious, dangerous interactions

Effects of Different CBD Routes of Administration on Your Medication

It is important to consider the route of administration when medicating with CBD and other medications. There are numerous ways to use CBD and therefore numerous ways the body metabolizes the compound. 

Inhalation provides the quickest onset averaging within 30 minutes. So when CBD is smoked or vaped, cannabinoids enter the lungs and then the bloodstream. Cannabinoids are then quickly circulated throughout the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD influences receptors throughout the body to modulate equilibrium. Finally CBD is broken down in the liver.

Therefore choosing the right method of use could contribute to your use and absorption of CBD and other medications. The faster CBD enters the bloodstream, the faster the onset of acute side effects will arise as well. Keep in mind- inhalable CBD would carry the highest risk of onset as it reaches its highest concentration within 30 minutes. Topicals, on the other hand, carry the lowest risk as it may not be absorbed in the bloodstream at all. 

Talking to Your Medical Professional About CBD

For all these reasons and more, it is really important to consider your OTC and prescription medications first when choosing to also add CBD into your cocktail. It is best to prepare yourself for any unintended interactions or consequences as the process of identifying the optimal mix of medication without interactions is not alway easy.

If you are choosing to use any OTC medications or herbal supplements, you need to know how the substances may interact with your body’s regiment. You may want to consider consulting a pharmacist, like you would a mixologist. Instead of concocting a cocktail blindly, which could affect the predicting end result, do yourself a favor and speak with your local pharmacist– even if you have to wait.

It is of utmost importance to disclose your CBD use to your medical professionals. If you are being prescribed medication, your doctor will need to factor your CBD use into your treatment plan or medication cocktail. It could be that your doctor may just need to adjust the dosages of CBD and medication when combined. Please be aware there are some conditions for which CBD is not advisable. The following are conditions you shouldn’t be surprised if your doctor advises against the use of CBD if you are: 

🚩 under 25 years old
🚩 at risk for heart disease
🚩 at risk for liver disease
🚩 at risk for kidney disease
🚩 weakened immune system
🚩 family history of psychosis
🚩 family history of mood disorders
🚩 family history of addiction 

So now that you know about CBD drug interactions- talk to your doctor or pharmacist first and…✨ Clink / Clink ✨ Enjoy your 🌿 cocktail.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cbd-and-other-medications-proceed-with-caution-2021011121743

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/507998

https://sites.psu.edu/cannabinoid/files/2020/06/NTI-Meds-to-be-Closely-Monitored-when-Co-Administered-with-Cannabinoids_2020_04_25.pdf

Anat Zimmer, Itay Katzir, Erez Dekel, Avraham E. Mayo, Uri Alon. Prediction of multidimensional drug dose responses based on measurements of drug pairs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 113 (37): 10442 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606301113

Weizmann Institute of Science. “How to mix the perfect (drug) cocktail.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161208121908.htm>.

Alsherbiny MA, et al. (2018). Medicinal cannabis — potential drug interactions. DOI:
10.3390/medicines6010003

Bailey DG, et al. (2013). Grapefruit–medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences? DOI:
10.1503/cmaj.120951

Gaston TE, et al. (2017). Interactions between cannabidiol and commonly used antiepileptic drugs. DOI:
10.1111/epi.13852

Grapefruit juice and some drugs don’t mix: Grapefruit juice can affect how well some medicines work, and it may cause dangerous side effects. (2017).
fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix

Geffrey AL, et al. (2015). Drug-drug interaction between clobazam and cannabidiol in children with refractory epilepsy. DOI:
10.1111/epi.13060

Iffland K, et al. (2017). An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: A review of clinical data and relevant animal studies. DOI:
10.1089/can.2016.0034

McDonnell AM, et al. (2013). Basic review of the cytochrome P450 system.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4093435/

Ahn K, et al. (2008). Enzymatic pathways that regulate endocannabinoid signaling in the nervous system. DOI:
1021/cr0782067

Alger BE. (2013). Getting high on the endocannabinoid system.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997295

Background: Marijuana. (2007).
drugabuse.gov/publications/brain-power/grades-6-9/weeding-out-grass-module-4/background

Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-review report. (2017).
who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf

Cannabis and cannabinoids. (2019).
cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq?redirect=true

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency: Issue brief on clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. (2017).
health.state.mn.us/people/cannabis/docs/rulemaking/endocannabinoidbrief.pdf

De Laurentiis A, et al. (2014). Role of the endocannabinoid system in the neuroendocrine responses to inflammation. DOI:
2174/1381612820666140130212957

Gomez M, et al. (2008). Cannabinoid signaling system.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633685

Human endocannabinoid system. (n.d.).
uclahealth.org/cannabis/human-endocannabinoid-system

Lu H-C. (2015). An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system. DOI:
1016/j.biopsych.2015.07.028

Pacher P, et al. (2008). The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. DOI:
1124/pr.58.3.2Zou S, et al. (2018). Cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system: Signaling and function in the central nervous system. DOI:
3390/ijms19030833

Pin it

HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

LJG 2021

written by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Hannah Sadock

reviewed by

Hannah Sadock, MS

Undoubtedly every retailer of cannabis or CBD lube is psyched the media has deemed the summer of 2021- “slutty summer.” There has been lots of chatter in the news projecting the increasing amounts of individuals “whoring” themselves out of quaratine as they engage in casual sex (hopefully) after getting vaccinated. If you’ve been tracking the essential status of the cannabis industry through the pandemic, you may be thinking- we have gone from “Hot Girl Summer” to “Pot Girl Summer” and now “Shot Girl Summer. 

Whether you received Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, you may be thinking it is time to refill  that birth control, stock up on condoms or other contraceptives, and finally try out cannabis or CBD lube. Though  before you start updating your Bumble and Tinder profiles, there are some key details  you may want to familiarize yourself with before introducing new partners into your pleasure experiences… specifically related to cannabis or CBD lube.    about the cannabis or CBD lube you plan on using…

Cannabis as an Aphrodisiac

Yes, you read that correctly! – It is time to replace chocolate, oysters, ginseng, maca root, candlelight, and lingerie with cannabis. Whether you believe that any of these common day aphrodisiacs are really capable of making your toes curl, it looks like cannabis actually offers a full mind and body effect that will have you grabbing your pillows and screaming yes!  Sure, the mechanisms making your toes curl during pleasure are governed more by complicated systems in the body such as psychological, neurological, and endocrinological rather than cannabis alone.  Cannabis may move through your body to get your blood flowing, ease your nerves, calm your mind, and increase your hormones to give you the tingles in all the right places.

It is a toss up on which is more complicated; human sexuality or cannabis. Here’s what we’ve come to understand about these two complicated things together… When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects. Depending on a cannabis product’s cannabinoid profile, different types of relief are achievable including- pleasure, coordination, cognition, and more… So the endocannabinoid system is thought to influence sexual behavior.

Cannabis is a natural enhancer of all sensations, and can be used as anxiety-relieving, pain-reducing, and euphoria-inducing. It can also produce a defense against physical and psychological resistance and/or inhibition. Essentially cannabis may address common sexual- physical and psychological- barriers to spice up your sex life. In other words, for those of you who have trouble getting out of your heads and into your body during sex- cannabis might be just the thing you need. The use of cannabinoids is also thought to expand the longevity of your sexual encounters, increase the duration and frequency of orgasms achieved, and heighten the level of intensity experienced. 

Scientific research and anecdotal reports alike support that cannabis may increase sensitivity to touch, changing tactile sensations for the better. Users also report an increased libido and sexual desires. Though more research is needed regarding cannabis’ thought out impact on blood flow, pressure and soft tissue as all these functions are targeted during sexual experiences. Further, cannabis’ impact requires more research on sexual dysfunction, desires, lifestyle changes, and pleasure, such as erectile dysfunction, sex hormone, and orgasm, as these factors can all be influenced by the use of cannabis. 

In the meantime, and good news for us, anecdotal evidence overwhelmingly shows improvement in the overall aphrodisiac effects of cannabis. If your friends haven’t already started kissing and telling about their cannabis fueled sexy times, too- just wait. It’s coming soon. 

Choosing Cannabis for Sex

Plain and simple, cannabis is a psychoactive drug, so different bodies will react in different ways. If you are toying with the idea of introducing cannabis into your sex life, whether solo or partnered, it is important to set a goal for your practice. I know that doesn’t sound really sexy but hear me out. Cannabis’ diverse effects may be satisfying for one partner and unenjoyable for the other, especially if it is a first time use. To balance the vibe, remember, start low and go slow… no one enjoys a quick finish. In other words- it is best to start with a lower dose and titrate up slowly. Partners may have different needs such they don’t want to use the same strain or may even choose different routes of administration. Don’t expect your party to simply join your cannabis party as their needs may be different. 

Choosing a strain can be as personal as choosing a partner. Depending upon what kind of sexual experience you are craving, you are going to want to be specific about your choice of cannabinoids and terpenes. Choosing individual strains may also decrease the barrier of unbalanced pleasuring experiences with partnered play. Since we know each strain and person hold a different “working relationship,” if you will, it is best to meet your own needs. So It is really more of a BYO situation as each person’s endocannabinoid system will interact with THC, CBD, and all the other cannabinoids differently. Once again, create a safe space for yourself and partner by choosing a strain and dosing wisely as certain strains increase sensitivity to touch and change tactile sensations for the better. 

Terpenes, responsible for the aroma and flavor, will really help to set the mood as they also define the effects of each strain. Of course like cannabis, sex has many flavors of fun, all looking, feeling, and experienced differently and all equally valuable. If you are a person who lives for hot, intense, and maybe even some kink, then limonene, caryophyllene, and terpinene may feed your hot fire with energizing and uplifting effects. If you’re hoping for a more passionate, sensual, intimate love-making experience, relaxing and relieving linalool is the terpene for you.

You may want to also take some precautions to make sure you have the most enjoyable and safe experience possible. Before you get too stoned, talk about what you’re consenting to, find the condoms or other contraceptives, grab some water, etc… You may also want to consider whether you’d prefer to try it alone and masterbate versus with a sex partner- either can be fun!

Choosing Your Cannabis Aphrodisiac Products 

Perhaps you have already seen some of the many cannabis and CBD sexy intimacy products on the shelves at your dispensary and even drug stores. For those who still think smoking a joint is the only efficient way to use cannabis, this next bit will really blow your mind, and maybe even your load…

🚫 Ingesting Cannabis If you are still looking to add that secret ingredient of love into your sexual journey with cannabis, look no further at the explosive heart shaped baked goods and products all over the market. Edibles make for a discrete, smoke free consumption of cannabis building intensity over time creating a long lasting high. Perfect for some Netflix, Drill, then Chill as sensations may still be present after making the love, so take advantage of the effects and snuggie up nice. Products such as chocolates, cookies, and even flavored body paints are available for every kind of sexual encounter. 

However, as popular as edibles are (and they are the most favored form of consumption), they are not  always the best route  for partnered sex. Since edibles take 30-60 minutes to kick in, the uptake is often too slow and unpredictable, increasing the likelihood that partners will peak at different times. This too often leads to ingesting an over amount than necessary  shifting the focus of pleasure to the inability to sync with one another. to not sync up at all. Edibles are influenced by each individual  body mass index (BMI), digestive system, and other related factors sometimes making partnered edible eating less sexy as you two consistently ask each other, “are you feeling it now,” which may not always apply to cannabis at that moment.

Inhaling Cannabis If you are revved up, ready to go and looking for a more instant high, smoking would be the quickest route. Cannabis can be inhaled through multiple forms such as grinding your flower to use in your favorite smoking piece, or even baking the grinded flower through vaporization. There are also liquidated and waxed extracted cannabis usually in cartridge or concentrate form and these tend to kick in much faster compared to consuming cannabis, which can take too long.. 

🚩 Massage Oil, Intimacy Oils & Serums Sexual wellness has been embraced by the cannabis industry. Like cannabis balms, ointments, bath salts, salves, lotions, perfumes, and face cream- cannabis and CBD massage oil, intimacy oil, and serums are topicals like all the rest. So do not be fooled by the marketing scams. 

However, sensually you and your partner release each other’s tension when you apply cannabinoids to the skin, as these topicals provide localized pain relief along with anti-inflammatory benefits. The act of touching one another provides that extra sexual drive of focusing on pleasure and connection for one person at a time. Although, keep in mind a massage rubdown will not necessarily get you as applying cannabis to the skin penetrates the epidermis only inhibiting absorption directly into the bloodstream. 

Topicals designed and formulated to intensify sexual pleasure also focus on overall genital health. There is faster absorption through the mucous membranes of the vagina and anus. Oils and serums are thought to enhance blood flow and heighten sensitivity with intoxicating scents and tastes. These types of topicals may alleviate dryness and increase lubrication as everyone should be implementing lube into their sexual practices. Topicals works as a sensory or physical release creating an experience of feeling different stimulation and soothing simultaneously.

  

🚩 Suppositories Administering medication via suppository is much more common than many would think. Suppositories are often used to treat GI conditions, vaginal dryness due to menopause, seizures, and other conditions as it is an accessible localization point for administering medication. Suppositories are round or cone-shaped medications designed to be inserted into the vagina, anus, or urethra. Some may take the form of a pre-lubricated clear, jelly cone shape making administration accessible. While other forms may require lubrication prior to inserting and may resemble a medication capsule. Either way, they both do the same job of  dissolving once inside, and absorbed by the body  directly into the bloodstream. Inserting a suppository is thought to be more targeted relief than oral ingestion. Cannabis suppositories are commonly used in preparation for your romantic moments or following them for relief. Please advise before inserting any unknown object into your body as you may want to consult with a doctor if you are prone to infections or pH imbalances. 

🚩 Lube Sufficient lubrication is key to comfortable and enjoyable penetrative sex. In fact, everyone should go out and purchase lube after reading this for lube should always be a member of the party.. Lube truly is a great additive for penetrative sex as it reduces friction, tearing, discomfort, and decreases stimulation from driness. Many products on the market have been infused with cannabis and/or CBD to increase your natural flow of lubrication or just add for fun. Lubes are meant to be applied directly to the genitals- vulva, clitoris, and anus. Though they are not as effective on the skin of the penis as it is far less absorbent than the vagina and vulva. However there is a small wait time before dessert, as it takes  a 15-20 minute of absorption time for the relaxed, tingling, prolonged, and multiple orgamsic effects to rock your body.

A Note on Cannabis Topicals

Okay so now I need your full attention. You may have noticed some “red flags” 🚩 when reading about the cannabis options to elevate your sex life. Just like red flags with partnered sex (i.e. consent), there are some red flags that cannabis can carry into the bedroom. You need to be knowledgeable to make the choices for your safety which is an important factor when experimenting with pleasure. Some products have risks, such as cannabis topicals. There are a few things of note when using these types of cannabis aphrodisiacs:

🚩 Most cannabis topicals are coconut or hemp oil based and therefore edible- which can make for a pretty fun time. However if you kiss, lick, suck cannabis lube, you may get high. After ingesting a topical, the cannabinoids are absorbed through the digestive system. They then impact the endocannabinoid system. So if you’re giving oral sex, be aware that ingesting this topical is psychoactive and will get you high.

🚩 While we’re on ingesting a topical- let’s also talk about allergies. It’s entirely possible to have an allergic reaction to lube. It’s important to review the ingredients to know if you may react to any element in the formulation. If you feel any swelling, burning, or itching, you may need to check for the following symptoms: hives, redness, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of a severe allergic reaction when using cannabis lube or any other topical.

🚩 If you are practicing safe sex with with use of condoms, steer clear of the cannabis or CBD topical as they are not the best lubricants to ensure protection from STIs or pregnancy. Cannabis and CBD lubes and other topicals commonly use coconut or hemp oil as its fat soluble carrier. While this is good for cannabis and CBD bioavailability, it’s not so good for condoms:

  • Latex condoms can dissolve and/or break when used with oil-based lubricants.
  • Latex diaphragms and sex toys can also be broken down by oil-based lubes.
  • Non-latex condoms are sensitive to oil-based lubes- so it is best to check the package before use.

Oil-based lubes are ideal for masturbation, penetrative unprotected sex, and water-play. They can also be used for a sensual massage. Please remember to practice consent when engaging in penetrative unprotected sex with a partner– creating a safe space for experiecing emotions and pleasures ensures for a eye-opening time. 

Other options- try to find water-based lubes or use nitrile, polyurethane, or animal skin condoms. After all, reducing friction and increasing comfort during sex should minimize soreness or irritation. Be sure to choose wisely if using contraceptives as some chemicals will react.

Getting Ready for Shot Girl Summer

Okay now that you have all the product tips you need for a sexy cannabis lite night, there is still one more thing we want to share. Here are some other key tips to consider as you train for your Slutty Summer. Actually, these tips will keep you in check with your selfcare, physically, mentally, and emotionally to ensure the experience is staying true to your goals. Here are some great tips to support your sexual self and health when considering a Shot Girl Summer:

Touch Yourself Yup, that is right. Consider masturbating more to grow awareness of your body’s on and off switches. When masturbating, you become the expert of your own pleasure as you control the experience. It is important to touch yourself and notice the response or reaction. Then once you are comfortable, you can share your findings with other sexual partners.    

Orgasm is Not the Goal It is best to focus on enjoying what is actually happening in the moment. Feel the sensations you are experiencing and follow them. Sometimes when sensations of orgasm arise, be mindful of where your thoughts are heading and bring yourself back to the moment. The more you focus your attention on an orgasm, the more you miss during the moment, so enjoy yourself. Live through any anxious thoughts, accept them, and let them go – be mindful in the moment and just keep redirecting your attention back to the pleasure. Focus on breathing to relax your body and allow for increased sensation. Orgasm happens when they happen and if we miss an orgasm opportunity then all the more reason to try again. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate Sex is not purely physical, and following your instincts is not alway enough as your partner cannot read your mind. Telling your partner what you like and do not like can help sex become deeper, less awkward, and more pleasurable. It also may be best to negotiate before you bring cannabis to the party so you can set a plan for boundaries, consents, and maybe even safe words so if you get too high, we know to support each other.

Plan for safer sex If protecting yourself and your partner from STIs, HIV, and pregnancy is of importance, be sure to plan as such. There are many contraception methods to suit every encounter. Getting frisky does not have to be risky if you are  well prepared. Oh and using a condom does not hamper your ability to have an orgasm. Of course there are always potential risks when using condoms, so be sure to keep in mind and plan for moments of uncertainty, as there is a risk for impaired judgment. Best to be safe than sorry, so plan ahead so cannabis can participate in future pleasurable experiences. 

Hydration A lack of water causes your body to release stress hormones, which may throw off sexual hormones and leave you with a low libido. Proper hydration can facilitate natural lubrication and help you orgasm by increasing oxygen levels in the bloodstream.

Get loud and active Sound and movement help the sexual energy move through your body. The more you moan, cry, talk dirty, laugh- the more you will feel it. YAASSSSS!!!!

So similarly to the approach we suggest about cannabis, we would also recommend “harm reduction” for your post-vaccination, post-pandemic plan. With bars and restaurants opening back up all over (if they have not already), it is still best to hang out in a small circle with vaccinated people in open and/or outdoor space. Stay safe y’all!!

And keep in mind- if sex is painful, increasing lubrication  may not always be the answer nor  taking another hit. Many infections and/or illnesses can increase pain during sexual intercouse – especially vaginal sex. If you experience recurrent or worsening pain during sex, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. Also be aware that sometimes sexual dysfunction symptoms may arise throughout our lives as this is natural and normal. It is best to seek support for these symptoms as sexual health is a significantly important factor for future experiences. 

https://www.smoa.jsexmed.org/article/S2050-1161(19)30009-1/fulltext

Androvicova R, Horacek J, Stark T, Drago F, Micale V. Endocannabinoid system in sexual motivational processes: Is it a novel therapeutic horizon? Pharmacol Res. 2017 Jan;115:200-208. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2016.11.021. Epub 2016 Nov 21. PMID: 27884725.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. FAQ020: When Sex Is Painful. September 2017. 

The World Health Organization, Family Health International, United Nations Population Fund. Use and procurement of additional lubricants for male and female condoms: WHO/UNFPA/FHI: Advisory note. World Health Organization 2012.

Dezzutti CS, Brown ER, Moncla B, Russo J, Cost M, Wang L, et al. Is wetter better? An evaluation of over-the-counter personal lubricants for safety and anti-HIV-1 activity. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48328. 

Nicole W. A question for women’s health: chemicals in feminine hygiene products and personal lubricants. Environ Health Perspect. 2014 Mar;122(3):A70-5.

Pacher, P., Bátkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2005). Cardiovascular pharmacology of cannabinoids. Handbook of experimental pharmacology, (168), 599–625. https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-26573-2_20

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/489287

Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034

Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333–1349. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc.09.93

Pin it

HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Jessica Christion

written by

Jessica Christion

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Incorporating CBD into your daily meditation practice may be exactly what you need. Whether you are new to meditation or an expert, CBD can boost your meditation by allowing you to deepen your relaxation and focus. I personally have incorporated CBD into my practice especially when I am experiencing more intense stress and anxiety. For example, I deal with panic attacks,  they can be extremely draining afterwards; my body feels completely numb and depleted. I have found that during these times meditations help to rebalance my state of mind, but because I just went through such a high stress, high anxiety experience it is not as easy to get into a meditative state. This made me want to try CBD with my meditation because I needed an extra push. Sometimes it is harder to get into a meditative state depending on the circumstances, CBD can be of assistance, if you let it. 

How can CBD contribute to your practice of mediation?

CBD and meditation are both known to benefit your body in numerous ways including relief from stress, anxiety, pain, concentration. They are also known to increase a sense of calm, help with sleep and much more. A  2019 study found that CBD was linked to a decrease in anxiety related symptoms and an improvement of sleep. While another study has shown that meditation can reduce the negative effects of stress. Mindfulness meditation in particular were linked to small improvements in pain, anxiety and depression. If CBD and meditation have similar effects- why not use both? There are several ways to incorporate CBD into your meditation practice. I have narrowed some down so that you are not overwhelmed…  

4 ways to incorporate CBD into your mediation:

Now I assume you are eager to learn how to incorporate CBD into your meditations. There can be so many fun, exciting, beneficial and just outright overwhelming different ways. Based on the type of meditation you decide to do, different forms of CBD may be beneficial for you. Let me recommend 5 different forms of CBD based on general ways to meditate.  

Remember, each form of CBD has a different onset time to feel effects. Be mindful of this before you start your meditation. Everyone is affected by CBD differently. It is recommended to start off small with dosing and work your way up. 

1. Yoga: Yoga can be a form of meditation, yoga is not only a good form of exercise but it is also an awesome way to create a sense of balance and calm while using your entire body. If you enjoy yoga, a great form of CBD to consider are topicals. Topicals can be found in the form of  CBD lotions, patches, joints and muscle cream to name a few.  These topicals work to ease pain, arthritis, and inflammation. Topicals nearly work instantly and the feeling with some forms is like using icy hot but 10x better. Topicals are a great form to use if you are looking to use meditation to control your pain, and are especially great for hot yoga classes, if you are into them. 

2. Meditation Classes/ Retreats: If you attend meditation classes, or meditate with others as a group it is nice to be able to enjoy the effects of CBD a little longer. A great option would be CBD edibles.  There are many different forms of CBD edibles for consumption including gummies, cookies, candy, chocolates, water, tea, honey sticks and many more. These are created by infusing these lovely goodies with CBD isolate or oil. Results typically last 2-4 hours longer than other methods because of the way your body consumes the CBD, through your digestive tract and then a second time through your liver. This would also be a great option for nighttime meditations because they can help you sleep throughout the night . Onset of CBD can be anywhere between 1- 2 hours. So, if you do not feel your edible give it a chance to settle in.

3. Instant relief: Since meditation is a great way to learn how to manage your mental health and wellness, sometimes we need instant relief from symptoms. When we are doing common forms of meditation like guided meditations, mindfulness meditations, and Transcendental meditations it would be great to have a form of CBD that is working at the beginning of our practice, without the need to wait to feel the effects. The best form of CBD to use would be in flower or vape form. Smoking is not the healthiest form to consume CBD, but it is the best form if you are looking for instant effects. If you want to meditate before an event you have planned the same day, or you just need extra assistance from feeling stressed out, this is a great option. Effects from flower/vapes do not last as long as the other forms mentioned so it is great if you do not want this to last throughout the day.  

4. Beginner to meditation: The most known and comfortable form of meditation are Tinctures. Since it is the most researched, and it is more common to find information about tinctures it is great for beginners. Tinctures are also really simple to use. Tinctures can include oils, and sprays and they are also considered edibles. This method is also great to use everyday even without meditation. If you are new to CBD in general it is a great way to introduce your body to it. The onset for CBD oil and sprays are typically 30 minutes. With this method you want to put the recommended dosage * everyone is different* under your tongue and let the oil/spray absorb.Just like the other edible methods mentioned, tinctures are a healthy alternative to smoking flower or vaping. 

Conclusion

I hope that CBD can be beneficial for your meditation practice. Oftentimes we are so busy with our everyday lives that we tend to neglect our own needs. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and tense creating harmful stress to our bodies, meditation and CBD is a great way to release tension. It is also important that you track your CBD and Meditation progress so that you are aware of what methods mentioned worked/did not work for you. I encourage you to visit How to Track your CBD and Meditation progress to learn more about the process in order to get started.

Brewer, J. A., Worhunsky, P. D., Gray, J. R., Tang, Y.-Y., Weber, J., & Kober, H. (2011). Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 20254–20259. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1112029108

Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M. S., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., Berger, Z., Sleicher, D., Maron, D. D., Shihab, H. M., Ranasinghe, P. D., Linn, S., Saha, S., Bass, E. B., & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018

Shannon, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal. https://doi.org/10.7812/tpp/18-041

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

written by

Charlie Suter

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

written by

Charlie Suter

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Sleep disturbances can be an extremely frustrating issue to manage. Whether it is trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or any other stimulus affecting sleep, we all have had an experience of trouble sleeping, all presenting differently in each other.  Struggles with sleeping are so common that around 15 to 20% of adults in the United States are living and managing a sleep disorder.  Though it is important to remember, before you start matching symptoms and self diagnosing as an “insomniac”, there are two questions  to consider: What might be causing your sleep disturbances and what actually are sleep disorders. 

 

Assess your Sleep Disturbances

There can be many causes and factors influencing the onset of sleep disturbances. Lifestyle factors such as access to fresh foods, safe living environments, your mental and medical health status can each have  an impact on the quality and outcome of sleep hygiene. Assessing these different factors by tracking and adjusting them could rule out potential factors, listed above, as the trigger for sleep. 

 

Lifestyle factors can have impact on sleep, the most common being:

  • Caffeine consumption can cause a delay in falling asleep, shorten the duration of sleep, and decrease sleep quality. This is due to its effects on adenosine receptors, causing oxygen consumption and blood flow to increase.
  • Alcohol consumption can cause difficulty in falling asleep and a decrease in the amount of REM sleep. This is due to its effects on sleep homeostasis, which regulates the cycle between REM and NREM sleep.
  • Inconsistent sleep patterns due to shift work or jet lag can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the body’s 24 hour regulation of sleep-wake cycles, causing difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at desired or appropriate times.

 

Environmental factors will also have a large impact on sleep. Common issues include:

    • Excessive light at night and decreased sunlight during the day can disrupt your circadian rhythm, the body’s 24 hour sleep-wake cycle. 
    • Excessive Noise can prevent you from both falling and staying asleep.
  • Room Temperature can cause difficulty falling and staying asleep. While the optimal room temperature for sleeping is 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, personal preferences can differ. 

 

Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, PTSD, and depression can cause sleep difficulties. In cases like this, it is best to consult a mental health professional to discuss possible remedies such as therapy or medications. Chronic pain, diabetes, and other physical conditions can also cause sleep disturbances and may require consultation with a medical professional in order to explore possible remedies. 

 

Understanding Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders involve difficulties with the quality, timing, and amount of sleep obtained over an extended period of time. Individuals living with a sleep disorder will often experience difficulty with daytime functioning due to their sleep disruptions, which can lead to poor quality of life. Difficulty with sleep can affect an individual’s overall health and increase their risk of developing some serious health issues. Each disorder has its own specific set of symptoms but will often include: 

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • A strong urge to take naps during the day
  • Abnormal breathing patterns during sleep

 

Common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia: the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep.
  • Sleep Apnea: characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep due to airway obstruction resulting in loud snoring.
  • Parasomnias: a class of sleep disorders that cause abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep.
  • Narcolepsy: an inability to control sleep and wake cycles often causing individuals to fall asleep at any time.
  • Hypersomnia: feeling sleep deprived even after ten or more hours of sleep.

 

What to take away

The purpose of this is not to self diagnose a sleep disorder, rather to bring awareness to the possible factors contributing to your sleep. It is best to consult a medical professional after assessing your sleep disturbances and attempting changes to clarify what is still resulting in sleep difficulties. Accessing medical treatment can open doors to other remedies to support and treat sleep disturbances. 




https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/

Medic, G., Wille, M., & Hemels, M. E. (2017). Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nature and science of sleep, 9, 151–161. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S134864

Clark, I., & Landolt, H. P. (2017). Coffee, caffeine, and sleep: A systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials. Sleep medicine reviews, 31, 70–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2016.01.006

Smolensky, M. H., Sackett-Lundeen, L. L., & Portaluppi, F. (2015). Nocturnal light pollution and underexposure to daytime sunlight: Complementary mechanisms of circadian disruption and related diseases. Chronobiology international, 32(8), 1029–1048. https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2015.1072002

Thakkar, M. M., Sharma, R., & Sahota, P. (2015). Alcohol disrupts sleep homeostasis. Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.), 49(4), 299–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.07.019

Boivin, D. B., & Boudreau, P. (2014). Impacts of shift work on sleep and circadian rhythms. Pathologie-biologie, 62(5), 292–301. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.patbio.2014.08.001

https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/index.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-2035408

Common Sleep Disorders: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)

Burke, T. M., Markwald, R. R., McHill, A. W., Chinoy, E. D., Snider, J. A., Bessman, S. C., … Wright, K. P. (2015). Effects of caffeine on the human circadian clock in vivo and in vitro. Science Translational Medicine, 7(305). https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aac5125

Harding, E. C., Franks, N. P., & Wisden, W. (2019). The Temperature Dependence of Sleep. Frontiers in neuroscience, 13, 336. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00336

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

Extreme Fear: The Experience & Frequency Of Childhood Trauma
Narinka Guichette

written by

Namen Namestein

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

When I was five years old, we took a field trip to the pool in summer camp. I was very curious about the water but could not swim. Everyone else was just jumping right into the pool. Curiosity got the best of me, and I, too, just jumped right in. I quickly regretted it, and immediately started panicking when I could not keep myself up above the surface. I was under the water for a while before a counselor noticed. I was pulled out of the water just in time…

Yes, you could call me a survivor but that experience left me traumatized til this day.  Because of that near drowning experience, I developed a fear of water. Pools, beaches, rivers and even baths scared me. That fear has stayed with me throughout the years and has caused me to avoid aquatic related social events. As an adolescent, I would not attend friend’s birthday swimming parties. As an adult, I cannot watch television or movies featuring large bodies of water. That even includes animated films like Nemo and Little Mermaid I wish I could watch with my family.

My coping mechanism has been avoidance. But for some adolescents facing different traumatic experiences avoidance is not always an option and is not recommended. It’s time to face our fears…

What Childhood Trauma Looks Like

Trauma is an experience faced where it causes extreme fear and hopelessness sometimes altering an individual’s perception of reality (Rhoden, Macgowan, & Huang, 2019). The percentage of girls and boys that experience trauma during adolescence ranges from fifteen percent to forty three percent. The trauma I went through as a child has left me distrubed causing a sense of uneasiness when I am near water and the fear it has instilled in me as an adult is not uncommon.  When you think about other trauma such as violence, abuse, traffic accidents, bullying, deaths in the family it is not a shock that it’s been estimated that more than two-thirds of American children will experience a potentially traumatic life event by the age of 16 (Lea Winerman 2015).

How do Adolescents Respond to Trauma

The behaviors adolescents use to cope with trauma ranges from acting out, substance usage, anger, and intentionally breaking rules and hurting themselves and others (Adolescent trauma and treatment, 2012). Based on that brief description alone I am sure you are saying, wait a second don’t all adolescents act this way in general? Each individual is different if you suspect that your adolescent might be trying to cope with a trauma they most likely will mask their feelings and it is important to seek professional help.  Avoiding the early signs can lead to different forms of addiction either with the drug they are misusing or other substances.

 Treatments and Alternatives to Therapy 

Although during that time it might feel as if you are alone or like my story embarrassed to talk about. People might judge you and say this happened when you were a child and get over it, undermining the  effect of trauma. Avoiding the traumatic experience is what causes it to follow you as you age. At Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, many doctors collaborated to develop a course for therapy known as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) in the 1980s. This course usually 12 to 18 sessions and results are shown to reduce PTSD, anxiety, depression and other symptoms in children and families. For the past 25 years Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) data and results have shown their effectiveness on clients as young as 3 and as old as 18. TF-CBT has multiple phase treatment. First, they focus on stabilizing a child’s clinical symptoms, and include psychoeducation. We help the child understand the connection between their trauma exposure and current clinical presentation. Next, they educate the child about the impact of the specific trauma that the child has experienced. After, they help the child with skills development, such as relaxation skills and other affective-regulation skills. These doctors encourage these children to express their feelings by speaking up about them, because we know that when children can describe their feelings, they’re less likely to act out those feelings in destructive ways. Lastly, they work on helping children understand the basics of cognitive processing, so they can begin to understand the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. TF-CBT developed these phases to help children stabilize their emotions and their behavior and most children start to see improvement to be less traumatized.

Conclusion

Seeking help is not a bad idea. Therapists are shown to help clients make sense of the trauma and learn skills to better handle negative thoughts and feelings to go about living their lives better. Do not wait until that traumatic experience starts haunting you by causing nightmares to do something about it. Understanding why that experience is traumatizing can be the first step towards overcoming it. For those who cannot afford therapy they can engage in behavior that makes them happy such as getting involved in extracurricular activity. An activity that makes them happy. Life is beautiful filled with rainbow colors. We can’t let the grey colors that come with trauma overshadow our rainbow.

Adolescent trauma and treatment. (2012). Newport Academy, Retrieved from https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/mental-health/teen-adolescent-trauma/

Rhoden, M., Macgowan, M. J., & Huang, H. (2019). A systematic review of psychological trauma interventions for juvenile offenders. Research on Social Work Practice, 29(8), 892-909. doi:10.1177/1049731518806578

What is trauma . The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, https://centerforanxietydisorders.com/what-is-trauma/

Lea Winerman. (2015). Helping children recover from trauma.Vol 46, No. 11, 40. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/12/helping-children

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201609/21-common-reactions-trauma

https://www.healthline.com/health/traumatic-events

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25266475/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1619095/

http://cctasi.northwestern.edu/family/trauma-focused-therapy/

https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/mental-health/teen-adolescent-trauma/

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/12/helping-children

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE

EXPLORE

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Narinka Guichette

written by

Narinka Guichette

LJG 2021

reviewed by

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Military personnel are amongst those advocating for the descheduling of cannabis due to their all too common experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) Our soldiers are often exposed to life-threatening experiences that can greatly affect their mental health. According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of veterans with PTSD varies per service era. Veterans diagnosed with PTSD are as follows:

  • 11-20% of Iraqi Freedom Veterans 
  • 12% of Gulf War Veterans
  • 15% of Vietnam War Veterans

Our soliders also experience the trauma of sexual assault and harrassment while serving at the following rates:

  • 23% reported sexual assault
  • 55% of women reported sexual harassment
  • 38% of men reported sexual harassment

This equates to over 800,000 veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD. That’s staggering, isn’t it!? That’s a lot of people who need a lot of healing.

The VA and their patients have become a focal point for cannabis activists due to this larger population of people who may benefit from medical cannabis treatment. More and more veterans have begun speaking out about the effective treatment they are receiving, and their desire to be granted the use of the federally illegal substance that jeopardizes their federally subsidized medical benefits.

This is one fight the soldier’s don’t seem to be backed down from. Here’s why…

Veterans & PTSD: One Soldier’s Story

Mike Whiter served as a Marine for eleven years, and fought in the Iraq war on two combat tours. He was medically discharged after being diagnosed with PTSD. Upon returning home, Whiter not only struggled with acclimating to civilian life but also with a desire to continue living. Whiter experienced bouts of depression and attempted suicide three times over the course of five years.. Until trying medicinal cannabis for PTSD that is… 

Whiter’s whole life has turned around since he started medicating with cannabis. He is living proof of the benefits of cannabis to treat PTSD. Consequently Whiter has become an outspoken cannabis advocate having worked to decriminalize cannabis in his state- Pennsylvania. He now works as a Producer for NowThis News where he often features stories about cannabis legislation, decriminalization, and recreation.

What is PTSD?

According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5)- also known as the “Therapist’s Bible,” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as a condition triggered by a terrifying event or an experience that causes recurring physical and psychological distress. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through a dangerous or distressing event. This can be an experience that scares a person so much it affects their day-to-day life. It can trigger the “fight, flight, freeze, fawn” reaction that’s normal at the time but can linger much longer with PTSD after the danger has passed. 

Common PTSD symptoms include:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks or constantly looking out for danger
  • Depression or hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Reliving the event through bad memories, flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoiding activities you used to enjoy
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma (e.g., not driving, or staying away from crowds)
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawing from loved ones or even thinking that they would be better off without you
  • Having trouble concentrating at work or school

Those struggling with undiagnosed PTSD commonly say that instead of feeling better as time goes on, you feel as though things are progressively getting worse and worse. But know- PTSD is treatable. The sooner you seek help, the easier it will be to overcome.

How PTSD Affects Veterans

Some of the experiences veterans face can include losing a fellow soldier, being severely injured, witnessing war, sexual assault, rape, harassment, and for many- difficulty readjusting to civilian life once they’re home. Veterans re-experience their trauma through nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and more. For all those reasons and more, hundreds of thousands of veterans are in need of PTSD treatment.

The number of veterans diagnosed with PTSD is at a 23% high in the United States. Seventeen percent of returning veterans also meet the criteria for depression.This is important because PTSD symptoms can mimic or overlap with depression. Some of the similarities of  PTSD and depression symptoms include oversleeping, loss of interest, anger, and hypervigilance. 

In addition to the use of pharmaceutical drugs, Veterans often increase the consumption of alcohol and the medications prescribed by their doctors. Addiction is a major concern in the veteran community. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in a study using diagnostic criteria found that alcohol use addiction was widespread at 32 percent. Clearly addiction is an undeniable challenge for this population.

Treatment Options for Veterans with PTSD

According to Whiter, PTSD initially cost him his career, social life, and self-esteem, and medicating the problem didn’t help. “Over the span of five years, I was put on 40 different kinds of medications.” He wasn’t sure what he was suffering from at first. When he was diagnosed with PTSD, he originally thought it was a personality disorder. 

Many veterans search for possible treatments to combat PTSD and are prescribed psychiatric medications like Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac. Antidepressants have been shown to reduce flashbacks and nightmares, and anti-anxiety medications may reduce the physiological arousal in PTSD patients. They use medication to numb their pain in order to gain some control of their lives. 

Aside from medication, the VA also commonly offers their patients psychotherapy including cognitive, behavioral, and exposure therapies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered to have the strongest evidence for reducing the symptoms of PTSD in veterans and has been shown to be more effective than any other non-drug treatment. Research has shown that exposure therapy has been more effective because it provides a safe place to relieve trauma. The downside is that not many people want to re-experience a trauma or have conversations about that trauma. 

After researching and educating himself, he knew there had to be a better way to medicate his condition but he knew the VA defense to PTSD is pills and psychotherapy. Whiter’s research didn’t end there. He learned of another treatment thought to be a safer choice than anything the VA had plied him with…cannabis…

Treating PTSD with Cannabis

“I learned about veterans using cannabis for their PTSD via a National Geographic special,” said Whiter. “So, I asked my friend to get me some. We sat in the living room. I laughed, smiled and felt good. That was the turning point of my life.”  

There’s been a growing interest in the uses of cannabis to treat illnesses such as epilepsy, glaucoma, cancer, anxiety, and yes, you guessed it- PTSD. The use of cannabis in reducing PTSD works by lessening the brain’s inflammation, therefore reducing the PTSD symptoms such as anger, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts (Jackson, Bassett,  Zvolensky, & Borsari, 2016). It does this by activating cannabinoid receptors known as CB2. This type of receptor is found throughout the body, and acts as a messenger. The chemical compounds in cannabis work to modulate nerve signal transmission which minimizes the feeling of fear associated with PTSD. When cannabis is consumed it also affects the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine to manage anxiety, motivation, and compulsions, and balance your minds and bodies.

Cannabis is also a safer choice that helps alleviate symptoms while also managing substance abuse. Cannabis can be used for medical purposes without a high risk of overdose compared to pills. 

Where Do We Go From Here? 

The stigma around cannabis has changed over the years, which can potentially open doors for more research and resources to help. We can use sources such as The Calm, Cool & Collected to educate ourselves on cannabis and for Veterans who are searching for alternatives to therapy can rely on the site to educate themselves on cannabis and see if it may be an option for them. 

Whiter can also be a great inspiration to become more active in your community to ensure Veteran’s rights to the use of cannabis. Be sure to get involved in your local organizations like Norml, Women Grow, and more.

Abizaid Alfonso, Merali Zul, Anisman Hymie.Cannabis: A potential efficacious intervention for PTSD or simply snake oil? US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Search Database, Retrieved from https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.ezproxyemc.flo.org/pmc/articles/PMC6397040/

Berman, M. (2014, February 24,). How public opinion on marijuana  has changed over the last half-century. The Washington PostRetrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/02/24/how-public-opinion-on-marijuana-has-changed-over-the-last-half-century/

Feingold, D. (2020). Working with clients who self-medicate using cannabis: Mind the gap in knowledge. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 51(4), 313-316. doi:10.1037/pro0000345

How to overcome PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Health Prep, Retrieved from https://healthprep.com/topics/mental-health/how-to-overcome-ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/?xcid=624&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=370292343&utm_content=1264438982654820&utm_term=what%20is%20post%20traumatic%20stress%20disorder&msclkid=662ffaaf6cb31ad8ed6ba5843ed6ef8c#

Metrik, J., Jackson, K., Bassett, S. S., Zvolensky, M. J., Seal, K., & Borsari, B. (2016). The mediating roles of coping, sleep, and anxiety motives in cannabis use and problems among returning veterans with PTSD and MDD. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30(7), 743-754. doi:10.1037/adb0000210

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iIENII-lVo

Lan, C., Fiellin, D. A., Barry, D. T., Bryant, K. J., Gordon, A. J., Edelman, E. J., . . . Marshall, B. D. L. (2016). The epidemiology of substance use disorders in US veterans: A systematic review and analysis of assessment methods. The American Journal on Addictions, 25(1), 7-24. doi:10.1111/ajad.12319

Reisman, M. (2016). PTSD treatment for veterans: What’s working, what’s new, and what’s next. P&T (Lawrenceville, N.J.), 41(10), 623-634. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27757001

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HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!

KEEP IN MIND

Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:

  • under 25 years old
  • taking any medication
  • at risk for heart disease
  • family history of psychosis
  • family history of mood disorders
  • family history of addiction

…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.

NAVIAGTE